Inbox Zero – How I (still) do it after about 10 years…

Introduction

A bit less than 10 years ago I posted about “Inbox Zero“. Though for as long as I’ve known the concept, I’ve been an avid fan/believer of it. Over the course of the years, I’ve evangelized about the concept to many, where a lot of people typically asked me : “Isn’t that really time-consuming?!?”. My answer has always been ; “It is a habit… And indeed, you invest a bit of time into it, though the gains of not having to pick up the same email(s) over and over again is where you easily win!”.

 

Theory

The basic premise of Inbox Zero is that your inbox is at all times.. EMPTY!

For a lot of people this seems impossible to achieve, though you realize this by going though the following flow for each mails that comes in… at the time it comes in. So yes, you “immediately” (as in the moment you open your mailbox) process all new mails. How do you do that, by the following rule set…

  1. Do I/we need to care?
    1. No, Delete.
    2. Yes. Great! Is the mail something I should do?
      1. No, Delegate (forward).
      2. Yes. Interesting! Can I reply in less than 2-3 minutes?
        1. Yes, Respond (reply).
        2. No, Defer (flag for follow-up). => And schedule times to where you’ll focus on burning through your “backlog” (read: deferred mails), so Do.

 

Practical Guidance

That sounds quite simple to do? So why don’t we all do it?!? From what I’ve seen, it starts with not knowing / being taught the system. And on the other had, it also requires a given level of discipline / organization to achieve it. Though in my mind, it can be accomplished by all if you are just given a bit of practical guidance. That’s what we’ll be talking about today!

Continue reading “Inbox Zero – How I (still) do it after about 10 years…”

Changing the timezone on your Azure Webapp / App Service / Function

 

Issue

With one of my flows, I was using an Azure function to generate a filename for my Azure logic app. This name was generated based on the date…

2017-01-24-20_10_33-application-settings-microsoft-azure

What did I see happening…2017-01-24-20_11_20-scoreboard-microsoft-azure

As I the script ran just after midnight, I saw that I was getting the day before instead of the actual date.

Continue reading “Changing the timezone on your Azure Webapp / App Service / Function”

Lingo Explained : Lombardi Time

Personally, I am someone who is always on time. A disaster must have struck down upon us before I am late to anything. I would rather sit in my car for an hour as I am way too early for a meeting, than to be a minute late. This week I learned that there is a term that follows the same belief!

Vince Lombardi was the head coach of Greenbay Packers. He ran a disciplined regime and introduced something that later became known as “Lombardi Time” ;

Lombardi expected his players and coaches to be 15 minutes early to meetings and practices. Not on time — 15 minutes early. If they weren’t, he considered them “late.” Thus, it came to be called Lombardi time.

A fun fact ; The clock above the entrance of the Greenbay Packers their stadium runs 15 minutes early… 
So next time we have a meeting together, show up on Lombardi time. I’ll be there!

Time Management Concept for your Mailbox : Inbox Zero!

Often I see people struggling with their mailbox… Personally, I’ve been using the “Inbox Zero” for several years, and it’s not that difficult to manage. Check the following slideware to get a grasp of the concept ;

Simply put ; Make sure your Inbox is always empty
If an email enters, use the following sequence as a ruleset

  • Delete ; If it’s not meant for you, or your team, just delete… So the things you categorize as SPAM.
  • Delegate ; If it’s not meant for you, delegate it to the person that needs to do it.
  • Respond or Do ; Respond or Do it, when it’s less than 5 minutes work.
  • Defer ; Archive the mail, and put a “read later” flag on it.

Less is more!

Source : Book Summary – 10 Big Ideas from “The Power of Less” by Leo Babauta

  • #1: Simplicity means identifying what’s essential, then eliminating the rest.
  • #2: Focusing on the essential produces the most results for the least effort.
  • #3: You must set limits – they don’t set themselves.
  • #4: Focus on only one thing at a time.
  • #5: Limit your active goals and projects to no more than 3-4 at a time.
  • #6: Establish three Most Important Tasks (MITs) every day, and do those before working on anything else.
  • #7: Batch similar tasks together to preserve your focus.
  • #8: Installing positive habits is easiest when you start small, then build on your early success.
  • #9: Consciously minimize your active commitments, and don’t be afraid to say “no” to new ones.
  • #10: Slow down, pay attention, and enjoy the process.

The simple rules to Time Management

The Simple Rules

  • “One Master” : Use one one master agenda, todo-list, etc. Using multiple will only make you lose sight of certain things.
  • “Within an arm reach” : This is close with the previous one, as you need to have that “One Master” close to you. If you don’t have your agenda with you, make sure you sync it to your master!
  • Clean Inbox : Keep your inbox clean! Set a rule where CC messages are moved to a seperate folder & apply the “Inbox Zero”-concept.
  • Think Modular : Thinking in an abstract way is sometimes hard for people. Yet group your tasklist into packages (milestones?) and make sure you only see the package you’re working on. This will have a wonderful psychologic effect as the mountain you have to climb may seem less high.
  • Time is the only constant : “I have not time” is possibly the most used excuse and I find it utter bogus! Time is the only constant in your daily world. It’s how you handle time and set the priorities. If you’re telling people you don’t have time; you’re telling them that you can’t manage it or that their request isn’t important to you!

Inbox Zero Concept
time_management

  • Delete: just get rid of it (or archive it)
  • Delegate: get someone else to deal with it
  • Respond: if it takes just a few minutes, do it right now
  • Defer: put it on a todo list, archive it, and deal with it later
  • Do: handle whatever the email actually needs you to do

Multitasking gets you nowhere or does it?

Lifehacker just featured an article called “Debunking The Myth of Multitasking“.

In a fast-paced business culture of “get everything done yesterday,” it’s easy to admire and reward those busybusy people who always seem to be juggling 14 things at once. But business coach Dave Crenshaw argues that the most common kind of multitasking doesn’t boost productivity–it slows you down.

I kinda forget the reference for this, but a while ago I read that, with each interruption, the brain will need about 15 minutes to get all things in order again. This so that you’re at the same situation that you were when you were interrupted.